Ever since first publishing my first intermittent fasting weight loss results, my inbox has been flooded with questions from people asking, “what should I eat on intermittent fasting”?
I normally say, “Keep it clean and drink lots of water”, but lately I’ve found myself going into greater detail about exactly what “clean” means.
On the one hand, I think we all know when trying to lose weight it’s better to reach for the broccoli than the bacon. But beyond that, it can be confusing to figure out what exactly to eat.
So, since I have had pretty good success losing weight intermittent fasting, I will share the foods that I stick to.
Please keep in mind that I’m not a medical professional and this is not medical advice!
It’s just what has worked for an average chick going it mostly alone, chugging along day by day, and trying to make magic happen in her life.
First I’ll share my intermittent fasting grocery list with you.
Then I’ll share a couple tips to help you craft your intermittent fasting meal plan.
Finally, I’ll link you to other resources that will help you navigate the wonderful world of intermittent fasting.
Before making any dietary changes, make sure you get the clearance from your doctor.
Build Your Intermittent Fasting Grocery List
First and foremost, here is the approved foods list from which I create my grocery list each week.
I’ll be honest – at the beginning of my intermittent fasting plan, I was not plant-based. And I still managed to lose weight.
I did wind up losing the most weight (and keeping it off) when I started focusing on whole plant foods. But if you’re not there yet don’t worry! This intermittent fasting list will make sure you lose weight still eating however you wish!
Everything on this list was furnished to me by a personal trainer I had for a few sessions.
I later took an online fitness program that had a similar meal plan with a few tweaks and additions.
Then my husband got into fitness and his program had a list that suggested something similar.
So, I combined all these resources into one, and now this is what I used to guide me on my initial intermittent fasting journey!
I don’t buy everything on this list every time, mind you.
And, of course, sometimes I pick up things that aren’t on the list. (As you can, too, if you want to add something.)
So this is a great starting place for what items to look for if you’re clueless about shopping for your new intermittent fasting lifestyle!
Save This Grocery List To Pinterest For Later
You want to eat as many fresh fruits as you can! Try to pick whatever is in season if you’re worried about keeping your budget low.
Here are a few suggestions for you to try:
Apples, oranges, bananas, berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries), melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew), peaches, plums, grapes, pears, kiwi, pineapple, mango, avocado, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons, limes, papaya, guava, passion fruit, apricots, nectarines, figs, persimmons, dates, cranberries, pomegranates, cherries, currants, gooseberries, kumquats, mandarins, blood oranges
You want to eat as many vegetables as possible, so make sure you always have a few on hand.
Here are some suggestions:
Leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts), carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, eggplant, onions, garlic, ginger, leeks, fennel, asparagus, celery, radishes, beets, sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, mushrooms, artichokes, okra, watercress, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, beet greens, dandelion greens, kohlrabi, jicama, daikon, snow peas
Don’t be afraid to eat whole grains! If you’re on a ketogenic diet then maybe you want to limit these, but otherwise, whole grains will help you stay full longer and that automatically leads to weight loss.
Here are a few whole grains that are great for intermittent fasting:
Brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, barley, oats, whole wheat pasta, bread, tortillas, couscous, millet, farro, amaranth, teff, buckwheat, barley, spelt, kamut, rye, sorghum, freekeh, popcorn, wild rice, black rice, red rice, brown rice noodles, soba noodles, udon noodles, rice paper, rice cakes, quinoa pasta, quinoa flakes, quinoa flour
Legumes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, B vitamins, and minerals. They are also a great source of plant-based proteins for vegetarians and vegans.
Here are some popular legumes you may want to try:
Chickpeas, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, lima beans, pinto beans, split peas, tofu, tempeh, edamame, mung beans, adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, cannellini beans, fava beans, pigeon peas, soybeans, lupini beans, garbanzo bean flour, red lentil pasta, chickpea pasta, black bean pasta, hummus, peanut butter, almond butter
Nuts & Seeds
Generally, nuts and seeds tend to be higher-calorie so you don’t want to go overboard with these. But in moderation, they can be a delicious addition to your meals and snacks when losing weight with intermittent fasting.
Here are some tasty nuts and seeds you can pick up at the grocery store:
Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pecans, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, poppy seeds, quinoa flakes, tahini, nut and seed butter blends, coconut flakes, sprouted nuts and seeds
Herbs & Spices
Herbs and spices are an easy way to add flavor and nutrition to your meals.
Not only do they contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants but they also contribute to a dish’s overall flavor profile with little or no calories.
Here are some of my personal favorite spices that you can try:
Cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, garlic, ginger, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, coriander, paprika, nutmeg, cardamom, dill, fennel, mint, sage, tarragon, bay leaves, black pepper, white pepper, red pepper flakes, chili powder, curry powder, garam masala, five spice, herbes de Provence, Italian seasoning
Lean Meat & Dairy (Optional/Sparingly)
Last but not least, if you’re eating meat and dairy, you’ll want to pick the lowest-calorie versions you can find. And even then try to make them a smaller part of your overall diet and shopping cart.
This will help you save money and shed those extra pounds on your intermittent fasting meal plan.
Here are some lighter, leaner options, should you choose to go that route:
Chicken breast, turkey breast, ground turkey, sirloin steak, round steak, flank steak, ground beef (93% lean or higher), salmon, tuna, tilapia, cod, halibut, shrimp, crab, lobster, skim milk, 1% milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat cheese
Meal Planning (Intermittent Fasting Tips)
Now that you have your approved foods list, pick and choose the items you want to work with.
Once you gather your groceries and start to prepare your meals, keep these three intermittent fasting meal planning tips in mind!
Cook Ahead & Eat At Home
One of the things I love most about intermittent fasting is the flexibility. You’re not really taking anything totally off your list.
Even fast foods in moderation are still okay. But if you go too crazy with that your weight loss results will be minimal at best.
So, the first thing I do when I go into a mode of clean eating is make sure I’m eating at home nearly 100% of the time.
To do that, I kinda sorta meal prep (but not really).
I don’t actually pre-package individual meals all neatly in my refrigerator or anything (though I admire those who do).
But I will make a few meals at once and have a surplus of leftovers to choose from.
I find my biggest deterrent when trying to eat clean from home to lose weight is not having food at the ready.
So, if you’re anything like me, having even a little extra food prepared can be all the difference between staying on track and going off the rails.
Foods To Avoid
While nothing is totally off-limits with intermittent fasting, some foods I try to stay away from as much as possible. These are heavily processed sugary foods such as donuts and candy. Regular white bread. Chips and such.
Though these are among my favorite foods, I find they spike my hunger and throw off my appetite a bunch. Plus, the belly bloat I get after is no bueno.
Also, I don’t drink alcohol anymore, but if you do drink alcohol I recommend cutting back while intermittent fasting.
Speaking from experience, drinking too much can make it challenging to stay on target the next day (or couple of days). It’s really best to curb it as much as you can if you’re trying to lose weight.
Also, avoid drinking calories altogether.
This means no fruit juice, heavily sugared and creamed coffee, or sugary sodas!
The point of cutting out one meal (or more) a day and the benefit is easy calorie reduction. Going and drinking liquid calories that won’t even keep you full is kinda beside the point.
Develop a love affair with water, tea, black coffee, Crystal Light and you’ll fare much, much better.
And speaking of calories…
Counting Calories (Or Not?)
I know, I know. Counting calories SUCKS. It really does.
It’s cumbersome, time-consuming, and not very much fun at all.
But it’s really an eye-opening activity that can give you enormous insight to why you may not be losing the weight you want to lose.
While making a habit of counting all your calories all the time will improve your weight loss result overall, just trying it for a couple days will still be insanely beneficial.
You’ll be so surprised to discover exactly how much you’re really eating.
It’s super easy to think you’re eating light because you’re eating high-quality foods, but in reality, still totally be overeating.
My classic issue is with things like avocados and peanuts. Wholesome enough foods, yes. But it’s painstakingly easy to eat too many oats and too many peanuts. And yep – gain weight even if you’re fasting 16 hours daily.
I highly recommend committing to just a handful of days on MyFitnessPal or LoseIt!
Like, your first 3 days.
Understand Calorie Values
Go to the grocery store and cook a few meals with leftovers, logging those recipes in the app so you know what they’re worth calorie-wise. Then get comfortable with some stand-alone foods that you might eat as snacks.
Knowing how many calories are in an apple or banana, a handful of peanuts, a small bag of pretzels, or a boiled egg can really help you wrap your mind around the number of calories you’re consuming.
Just that little bit of knowledge gives you more power and control over your diet.
And who knows? You may find that it’s not as bad as you think (it does get easier over time once you start logging the same foods over and over).
Plus, with intermittent fasting, you’re logging fewer foods than you normally would, because you’re only eating for 8 hours of the day.
You shouldn’t have that many items to log anyway, right? 😉
Intermittent Fasting – Is It For You?
So, do you think intermittent fasting is for you?
I certainly hope this grocery list helps you if you choose to try it!
I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t perfect when it came to eating right in the beginning…
Heck, now even several years later I still am not 100% perfect all the time (and never will be!)
BUT… over time I’ve kept going with it, have never given up on my dream goal, and I found success!
My motto is “progress, not perfection”.
Just trying to do better and be better as a general rule over the long-haul, and that steady approach is what wins out in the end.
I know and believe wholeheartedly that you have the power within you to make it too!
It all just starts with the very first step.
I wish you the best of luck with intermittent fasting and hope you use it wisely to get the dream body and life you always wanted.
Hopefully if you’re new to fasting or renewing your resolve to try intermittent fasting for weight loss again, these tips will help you make the shifts you need to see success.
Best of luck to you, and happy fasting!